Selling my business – Do I need an intermediary?

You have probably worked hard in building up your business. Now coming to the decision to sell may not have been an easy one. You might wonder if there is a need of an intermediary. It may seem like you know your business best and would be in the best position to sell it, to promote its good points and show it off in its best light, but selling a business is full of pitfalls and in order to get the right buyer and the best price, an intermediary is really the best route in most cases.

What does an intermediary do?

An intermediary can help you through the process of selling your business, every step of the way, from preparing your business for sale to making the final deal.

  • Preparation

Preparation of a business for sale should start several years before actually selling. An intermediary can give advice about how you can gain the most value for your business. He will get your books in order, create a plan for management succession, get legal paperwork sorted etc.

  • Valuation

A good intermediary will have experience in making the best valuation of your business

  • Finding the right buyer

It is unlikely that you will have a broad network of potential buyers for your business.  An intermediary should have a broad network of businesses which are interested in buying and have the opportunity to market your business for sale.

  • Negotiations

This is what the intermediary is there for, to make good and fair negotiations, to the benefit of both the buyer and the seller.  They can lead the process from initial contact right through to making the final deal.

  • Helping with raising the capital

The intermediary can also help the buyer to find the necessary funding in order to make the purchase.

Your Choice

You have a choice to make.  Either you try to sell on your own or you get an intermediary in to help you.  The first choice could only be a reasonable one if you have experience in selling a business, but would rarely be a good one without the access to a network of potential buyers.  The second choice, is normally well worth the price you need to pay, as you will gain a lot more value for your business and be able to keep running your business well, without getting distracted by the selling process.

So, once you realise you are in need of an intermediary, there is a further choice.  What sort of intermediary do you use?  The two main types of intermediary are Investment Banks and Business Brokers, with M&A advisors covering a middle ground between these two.  Let’s look at these in more detail.

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